I commend my colleague, Deputy Joan Collins, on her tremendous work in bringing forward this motion on the local drug and alcohol task forces. The motion strongly supports the work of the task forces, which are central to the implementation of the Government strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, of 2017. The motion calls on the Government to implement the commitment in the programme for Government to allocate an emerging needs fund; to commit to urgent implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018; to accelerate the work of the Garda asset profilers; to ensure a partnership approach to the new youth scheme; and to conclude the HSE review, among other measures. The Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin amendments are also very welcome.
Today, Deputy Broughan spoke on the motion on Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Forces (LDATFs) which was brought forward by his colleague, Deputy Joan Collins and which he co-signed. The motion calls for the implementation of the commitment in the Programme for Government to allocate an emerging needs fund; the commitment to urgently implement the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018; and the acceleration of the work of Garda Asset Profilers. Today’s motion also called on the Government to ensure a partnership approach to the new youth scheme and to conclude the HSE Review of Drugs and Alcohol Task Forces amongst some other measures.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak to the Bill which was first introduced in the Seanad by the Taoiseach when he was Minister for Health in 2015. While I often disagree with him and the Minister on many aspects of health, I warmly support the Bill. I have received many emails during the years from constituents urging me to support such legislation. If passed, it will be positive for the country.
Deputy Broughan today received a reply to a Parliamentary Question that he raised back in July with the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, on the number of test purchases carried out under the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 per county each year since 2014. Figures received today show that there have been 1,103 test purchases nationally since 2014 up to the 16th of July 2017 and that 116 of these were listed as ‘Crime’ and 987 were listed as ‘Non-Crime’. However, on further analysis of the data provided, there are 8 counties in which no test purchases were carried out over the three and a half years (Galway, Kilkenny, Carlow, Laois, Offaly, Roscommon, Longford and Wexford) and a further 6 that have had no test purchases since 2015 (Clare, DMR East, Sligo, Leitrim, Tipperary and Waterford).